Archive for 2009

To Santa Elena Canyon. Big Bend. Tx [Salmon topped with Guacamole]

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

 “I made no resolutions for the New Year. The habit of making plans, of criticizing, sanctioning and molding my Life, is already too much of a daily event for me.” [Anais Nin]

It always takes others I think for one to look at themselves Life, or maybe if not others, just another situation out of the ordinary of a present one. It has been so while my Friend visiting, as all I can say I am fortunate of her own likings and understanding. This is when I realize how different my Lifestyle is. All here is so unlike the City, one has to make due. Much. No doubt also in her own willingness and desire to get away from the Internet, phones and all. I am not, but she was… I myself try, not very successfully, as however I do much off line and not much of a browser. Only “Facebook” lately [Ara Gureghian], it is quick, have the app on my I phone and I don’t care what anyone says, I like my Friends, and quick exchanges of thoughts and words lets me be in touch and it is a good feel. To me that is all what counts.

Old Maverick Rd  
Old Maverick Rd  

What do you show someone only here for a couple days while at the foothills of over a million acres? Some will cover the 300 + mile loop from Alpine to Big Bend to Presidio through River Road and on to Marfa coming back to Terlingua, all in a flash of a glance throughout one day, not even slow enough to comprehend what is here. We could not get to that level as we decided to just take Old Maverick Rd to Santa Elena Canyon and back the paved road. Have done it many times, and yet, it is always as a new ride. It actually was not a ride… we drove, meaning “I drove”. Strange to drive, a bit lost at first specially when getting ready to leave as Old Faithful herself is always ready, and I had to unload and move around a few things. Everything has it’s place, not in the car. I actually don’t know if it was a car, it is a Jeep Liberty and I have no clue what they are called. Maybe an SUV.

Cactus Old Maverick Rd
Old Maverick Rd  

The downside, one cannot park a car just about anywhere. It is enclosed, there is no wind on the face, and the next person is awfully close by while behind the wheel. The upside is, when one can park, they just get out of the car, grab the camera and that is it. No eyeglasses, helmet, earplugs, wires and all to undo, take off to only put them back on, all for one photo. Spirit? He loves it all… jumps in and jumps out. He did tell me later that he preferred his sidecar! adding “just so I can wear my goggles and helmet…”.

Santa Helena Canyon  
Santa Helena Canyon  

It was one of those, yes, another one, perfect day. The electronic temperature gauge showed a nice constant balance between 55 and 60 degrees, (amongst other numbers I had no clue of their intention), blue skies, a few puffs of clouds delicately shaped passing by, the air was clean, the inner Soul was more than welcoming such time passed outdoor. It was strange as I have photographed Santa Elena Canyon so many times and I saw it as a challenge to do it over again, as the vision never cease to find new angles, new landscape changing on a moment’s notice. Most everyone present where throwing rocks and pebbles in the water. I picked a couple flat ones myself and had Mary exercise her arm. I wanted some splashing photos!

Santa Helena Canyon  
Splash Santa Helena Canyon

It was a bit crowded at first, I had never seen so many parked cars where the trail starts. These are Holiday times and one has to give credit to the tourists willing to drive to this end of this Earth away from it all to discover a Jewel not many will take the time to even glance at. We had visitors from France, Germany, even California with their dog! I know because I spoke to them… I think being isolated throughout most of our days I have this habit, good or bad, to start conversating with others, as long as I get the vibes that they will reply. Sometimes they do not! I loose that round very quickly, but quite often enough many are so enthusiastic exchanging thoughts with others specially when I can give them a bit more information about the area, more than the little pamphlet. Or… warn them about the fact that having their dog on the trail was a Federal offense as I also did that day. No sense ruining a vacation with an appearance in Alpine’s Federal Court as ourselves had “that” close call the other day.

Santa Helena Canyon  
Santa Helena Canyon  

I was told in our case it was not a coincidence. There are cameras along the trails, sensors maybe, as a Ranger never really shows up at that particular entrance we used that day. Either way it was a lesson learned not to be repeated. It still remains a mystery regarding Spirit stopping on his tracks as never before and wanting to not go further, only back to his car. The light that day was just perfect for me to again discover the symmetry of Mother Nature’s landscape. It is when framed I really see both sides of the coin, a very amazing coin, the surface of this Earth we are so privileged to roam on freely.

Santa Helena Canyon  
Santa Helena Canyon Santa Helena Canyon
Santa Helena Canyon  

All is now quiet again back at “The Oasis”. My Friend has arrived home safely, had a couple visitors from the big City stop by to say hello while I fired up the wood stove in the tent, just another good day. We had a threat of snow last night, instead the temperatures went up all night but today was just of a gloomy one. One of those that will keep the minds indoor trying to catch up on the internal gears of Life such as unopened mail including the electronic kind. It is now late in the afternoon and suddenly as to let us know of tomorrow, the skies have suddenly cleared up with some big promises that my motorcycle maintenance day is going to be a good one.

Santa Helena Canyon  

So I cooked the other night something I thought would be worthwhile posting here. First was a guacamole. I realize there are thousands of recipes and everyone’s is the best there is. Mine is just easy and tasty with a little bit of a bite to it. I started with 4 ripe avocados, added a can well drained of “Lime Cilantro” Rotel, a few smashed garlic cloves, the juice of a couple limes, some chopped cilantro, and that was it, mixed with a fork.

Guacamole Lime Garlic
Rotel Guacamole

It was then making some Spanish rice since I was on a roll. One cup of rice fried in vegetable oil, adding then a can non drained of diced tomatoes and 1.5 cup of water, bring it to a boil, simmer covered till the steam stops. Keep it covered for a while for the rice to expand and cool off a bit.

Rice Rice
Diced Tomatoes Rice

All this now sounds like a can commercial! Not much of a choice around here but to make due with what there is, such as also frozen salmon which is not too bad. Sautéed in a pan, topped with the guacamole with a side of Spanish Rice.


One more Sunset from last night, they just do not cease being the fingerprint of every day passed here. This one was spectacular.


Till next time, you all be well, always, it is our best choice.

Ara & Spirit

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